8 Thoughts on the Creative Process
We just released an updated version of our website! It's a combination of a visual and copy brush-ups. It took us around three weeks to launch this, the majority of that time being spent on prototyping and copywriting.
Julian wrote extensively about the process in these three posts. It is an interesting look into how a vision evolves through collaboration and doing.
Throughout this process, I made a few observations and I'd like to share those with you here.
1) Have an external pair of eyes to look at your work. We asked my sister for help while going through these changes. Before we started, one thing was obvious - the website does not convert at the level it should, and Julian and I are sending confusing messages through it. We were too close to have the clarity to communicate the most important thing clearly.
2) Give some general guidance, but give the person helping you total freedom. You are asking someone else for help because you trust them. It's important to let them do their thing uninterrupted. By all means, give them some pointers - where do you want to go, what is important to you, but don't mess with their work until they are done.
3) Keep an open mind when reviewing the first draft. When the time comes to review the work being done by an external party, give them space and consideration to explain why they did what they did. Don't be emotional or judgemental. Understand that the thing you are looking at is different than your ideas in your mind about what you do, but it might be closer to your target audience.
4) Strong opinions, loosely held. For sure, stick to what you believe in, but don't get carried away by your ego and bias. Avoid getting bogged down by unproductive debate. Don't be afraid to change your mind quickly. It's the smart thing to do so that you can...(see 5)
5) Prioritise action over deliberation. All talk, no action is your biggest enemy. Even if you are unsure, avoid getting distracted by the ambition to have perfection. There is a high chance that in your eyes, the work will never be perfect. So you might as well get used to it and move forward. Do.
6) Doing drives motivation and inspiration. Once you start doing you will immediately notice your motivation and excitement levels rising. In addition, you'll start finding inspiration. When you put your ideas in a tangible form, you allow them to grow and evolve on their own, ultimately resulting in something that gets you closer to your vision.
7) Change quickly, adapt. Again, it is important to be flexible and react to the constraints and hurdles you face. If you realise halfway through your work that things will work better if you approach them differently, don't be scared (or lazy) to scrap what you've done so far and start again. The payoff is better and there is a higher chance it will not take you that much longer to work on that new direction.
8) There's a high chance the work will never be done. Get comfortable with putting things out there that you are not 100% satisfied with. If it is 80% done, push it live. Then roll up your sleeves and start working on the other 20%. And keep iterating. One small step after another. Don't use perfection as an excuse to slack off and not do the work.
While going through this process I've been experiencing a mix of emotions: excitement in the beginning, when we were all pumped and on the same page. Then followed the agonizing feeling of the messy middle of the creative process. Eventually, it all culminated with the feeling of relief once we started building the new design.
Now, we are still busy working on more improvements, more on the copy side of our website. There will be a few minor UX improvements too, but the majority of the work will be dedicated to clarifying our message.
I would appreciate it if you take a moment to look through our new homepage. Does it work for you? If not, what do you miss?